Romans 6:12-23

Romans 6:12-23
Ordinary A31


12 Therefore, do not let sinA exercise dominionB in your mortal bodies,C to make you obeyD their passions.E 

Notes on verse 12

A “sin” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
B “exercise dominion” = basileuo. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is to reign as king, to rule in a literal or figurative sense.
C “bodies” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
D “obey” = hupakouo. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing). This is to listen, to attend to, or obey. It is acting subordinate to one who speaks – heeding a command or authority.
E “passions” = epithumia. From epithumeo (long for, set one’s heart on, yearn, desire); {from epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).

13 No longer presentF your membersG to sin as instrumentsH of wickedness,I but present yourselves to GodJ as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.K 

Notes on verse 13

F “present” = paristemi. From para (from beside, by) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is literally to place by stand. It can mean to present, exhibit, appear, bring, stand by, or prove. It can also mean to be ready, to assist, to yield, or to commend.
G “members” = melos. This is a limb or an organ of the body. So, it is a member of a greater whole. It is used figuratively for the body of Christ.
H “instruments” = hoplon. 6x in NT. This is a tool or implement. It can also be armor or weapons in a literal or figurative sense.
I “wickedness” = adikia. From adikos (unjust, unrighteous, wicked, treacherous); {from a (not, without) + dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known)}. This is injustice, unrighteousness, of some other kind of harm or wrong. It is justice in a legal setting or a morally wrong action or character.
J “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
K “righteousness” = dikaiosune. Related to “wickedness” in v13. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (see note I above). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.

14 For sin will have no dominionL over you, since you are not under lawM but under grace.N

Notes on verse 14

L “have…dominion” = kurieuo. 7x in NT. From kurios (a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord); from kuros (authority, supremacy). This is to be lord of, rule, lord over.
M “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
N “grace” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.

15 What then? Should we sinO because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not knowP that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedientQ slaves,R you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 

Notes on verses 15-16

O “sin” = hamartano. Related to “sin” in v12. See note A above.
P “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
Q “obedient” = hupakoe. Related to “obey” in v12. 15x in NT. From hupakouo (see note D above). This is obedience, compliance, listening attentively, being submissive.
R “slaves” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).

17 But thanksS be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heartT to the formU of teachingV to which you were entrusted,W 18 and that you, having been set freeX from sin, have become slavesY of righteousness. 

Notes on verses 17-18

S “thanks” = charis. Same as “grace” in v14. See note N above.
T “heart” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
U “form” = tupos. 16x in NT. From tupto (to strike repeatedly, wound, punish; figuratively to offend). This is a figure, model, image, impression, pattern, copy. Properly, this is a model created through much repetition so figuratively it is the proper model. It can be the impression of a stamped image, the mark of a scar, the shape of a statue. Figuratively, it can refer to a style or resemblance. Used specially, it is a model as something to imitate or as a cautionary tale. This is where the word “type” comes from.
V “teaching” = didache. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teaching or doctrine.
W “entrusted” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.
X “having been set free” = eleutheroo. 7x in NT. From eleutheros (a free person, at liberty, not a slave; properly, unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability); probably from erchomai (to come or go). This is to liberate, set free, release from bondage. It can mean to clear someone from liability. Figuratively, it is freeing someone from bondage to sin.
Y “become slaves” = douloo. Related to “slaves” in v16. 8x in NT. From doulos (see note R above). This is to enslave, become subject to someone or something else. It is generally in reference to bond slavery, but emphasizes the state or impact of enslavement. This is to enslave in a literal or figurative sense.

19 I am speaking in human termsZ because of your naturalAA limitations.BB For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurityCC and to greater and greater iniquity,DD so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.EE

Notes on verse 19

Z “in human terms” = anthropinos. 7x in NT. From anthropos (human, humankind; used for all genders); {probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face)}. This is human, in human terms, belonging to humans. It is used to contrast human and vine things.
AA “natural” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
BB “limitations” = astheneia. From asthenes (without strength, sick, deprivation; weak in a moral or physical sense); {From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is weakness, frailty, illness, suffering, or calamity. It is any kind of sickness or injury that includes weakness or diminishes your ability to enjoy or accomplish what you would choose.
CC “impurity” = akatharsia. 10x in NT. From akathartos (unclean or impure, whether a thing or a person; something that is not mixed with something that would taint; unclean in a ritual or moral sense; also demonic or foul); {from a (not, without) + kathairo (to cleanse or purify by purging out unwanted elements); {from katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying)}. This is uncleanness or impurity. It can be physical, ritual, or moral.
DD “to greater and greater iniquity” = ho + anomia + eis + ho + anomia. Literally “to lawlessness unto lawlessness.” Related to “law” in v14. Anomia is 15x in NT. From anomos (literally without law. So, it could refer to someone who disregards authority or one who is not under the law (i.e. a Gentile). It can be lawless, wicked, or a transgressor); {from a (not, without) + nomos (see note M above)}. This is lawlessness, iniquity, sin. It is acting without the law – discounting the impact of violating it.
EE “sanctification” = hagiasmos. 10x in NT. From hagiazo (to make holy, consecrate, sanctify, set apart as holy, purify, venerate); from hagios (sacred, holy, set apart, different other; physically pure, morally blameless, or ceremonially set apart); from hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). This is consecration, sanctification, holiness. It is making something holy or holier, set apart, being purified.

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were freeFF in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantageGG did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed?HH The endII of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternalJJ life.KK 

Notes on verses 20-22

FF “free” = eleutheros. Related to “having been set free” in v18. See note X above.
GG “advantage” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.
HH “are ashamed” = epaischunomai. 11x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aischuno to dishonor, put to shame, shrink, disfigure); {from aischos (shame, disgrace, disfigurement)}. This is to be ashamed or disgraced. It is a personal humiliation or dishonor – a shame that matches an error.
II “end” = telos. From tel– (to reach a goal or aim); This is an end, aim, purpose, completion, goal, consummation, or tax. It is completing a stage of something and everything that results from that completion. It can be literal or figurative.
JJ “eternal” = aionios. From aion (an age, length of time). This is age-long, forever, everlasting. Properly, that which lasts for an age. This is where eon comes from.
KK “life” = zoe. Related to “life” in v13. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

23 For the wagesLL of sin is death, but the free giftMM of God is eternal life in ChristNN JesusOO our Lord.PP

Notes on verse 23

LL “wages” = opsonion. 4x in NT. From the same as opsarion (fish or little fish. It can also refer to a cooked sauce or salted fish served as a condiment); from opson (cooked food) OR from optos (roasted, cooked); {related to hepso (to steep)}. This is wages, salary, expenses, or provisions. It is purchasing food – used later of stipend for soldiers to get rations. It came to mean wages or other pay and figuratively eternal reward.
MM “free gift” = charisma. 17x in NT. From charizomai (to show favor, kindness, or grace, to pardon, forgive); from charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, undeserved favor, a free gift, or a spiritual gift. It is the working of grace, some spiritual gift or religious qualification. It could be some kind of miraculous endowment.
NN “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
OO “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
PP “Lord” = kurios. Related to “have…dominion” in v14. See note L above.

Image credit: Stained glass window from Saint John the Baptist Church in Cuitláhuac, Veracruz, Mexico.

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